Monday, January 30, 2006

1999 F.O.U.R. (For Our Unspoken Remembrance..Dedicated to the Birmingham Four)

it is a wound, no doubt.

a brick is a wound in Birmingham.

a wound that is hot
from charred bobby socks and
loosened pigtail knots
smeared lipstick blots
silent rows of screaming forget me nots
a blackend wound
is hot
from the discourse of what life is
and is not

a black wound is
climbing over sharp cutting fences
a school teacher
looking the other way
a black wound is a seven year old and realizing the multiplicity of identity
they picked up picket signs
much like we pick up broken glasses that are heirlooms
black is Birmingham burning
as hate devours friendly god fearing politicians
who pimp politics and promises
watching as the tension grows thick and red like the dirt
looking at the future that must have been the other way
as everydaypeople
are smacked
bull whipped
and bullied
and bullhorned
yet the water hoses couldn't put the fire out

They fill up
the jails
and frighten well meaning missionaries
that are content to love everything about you but you
wish they could wish your pain away with their fear
Do not love you with a love that will allow them to act
even for Christ
so for now

Black must dance in the light of the servitude
quiver in the moon
dance that line
dance that line but don't push and shove
but black is wounded and burning tonight
and the sound is so loud
it concaves in on itself
a plethora of
w i d e w a n d e r i n g w o u n d s
each open and hungry
then somebody reached their hands down into the dirt
that southern dirt that never seems to wash of the hands
never seems to wash
and watered
that familiar strange fruit
that leaves the tongue bitter
and the heart afraid

denise, cynthia, addie mae, carole
and two others-- eyes poked out
hands lovingly dress
loose appendages
broken bodies
small profaned wombs
mounds of budding breasts
the brick embedded in denise's pressed hair
and bloodied white underwear

there is the smell of bubble gum
and starched dresses
and curly kitchens
and dreams
and head bands
the drumming
of freedom songs and heavy heated hands
signing 'bout Jordan but
there are snakes in the river Jordan
who would come and devour children?
they ask
the hissing sound
in the rushing of the wind
as a mother asks herself
How do you tell your child she was born to be hated?

now in the red dirt of alabama
mounds of budding breasts call out to them
and we walk past reality like it is a picture show
but reality reaches us
the us that makes us get up
at three o'clock in the morning and wonder
we hurt so bad and can't name our affliction
hurts so bad we just want to be touched
hurt so prolific it moves
and speaks
like birth pains

Now the memory
dances in the sunlight alabama air
that smells fragrantly of
Easter Lilies
and smoke

and a wound that takes the form of a brick

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